By Joshua Stevens, Faith Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:15-16 (Crossway Bibles, 2001)
Young salespeople and business owners are taught to “be shameless with their self-promotion.” To let everyone from their friends to strangers in line at the grocery store know what they do and how it might benefit them. We see this all over, from commercials enticing you to use a particular insurance company to billboards for the best lawyer in town and even people waving signs on the street. They are shameless in promoting what they do.
Not only shameless, but they have to be bold to go door to door or pick up a phone and start dialing numbers knowing most people won’t give them the time of day, and of the ones that do, a majority will not lead to anything. Yet day after day, they pick up their phone, lace up their shoes and look for anyone who will listen to how their product or service can improve a potential customer’s life.
A famous saying attributed to Francis Assisi is, “Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words.” For the past several decades, this quote has been transformed to mean that by simple acts of kindness, we may avoid the uncomfortable conversations that come with questioning someone’s faith, what they believe happens after death, and proclaiming with boldness the truth of Christ.
But there is truth in such a saying and a line we must walk. As it is often said, we must be careful not to fall into place where we are mimicking acts of Christianity and not being transformed by the word. For we know that the work of the Spirit will be evident in our lives (Galatians 5:22). We also must understand that the gospel must be proclaimed with our words.
Throughout scripture, the gospel is proclaimed. But, each time it is with words, whether it is Paul reminding the churches to whom he was writing that he came to them to proclaim the gospel. Whether it is the early church in Acts teaching and proclaiming the gospel, we see that it spreads wherever someone verbally proclaims the gospel.
Of course, some groups physically walk and proclaim Christianity and have done an excellent job of going out of their way to proclaim the good news they have. It is indeed a noble and challenging thing to do. However, the gospel some of these groups proclaim differs from the one given to us. Therefore, we must be bold in our proclamation and defense of the true faith of Christ so that no one would have an excuse before the Lord on that day.
In the end, it is not our job nor place to convince someone of salvation, only to head the calling of the gospel and allow the Spirit to work on the hearts and in the lives of those who hear it. We should be open to answering questions humbly and boldly live out a faith that is shameless in what we believe, why we believe, and why it is good for all.
Father, thank you for all you have given us. The faithful stewarding of the gospel to us today, and a spirit of boldness that accompanies us as we shamelessly proclaim Your good news to the world. As we go about this month, may You place opportunities in our midst so that we may share the gospel with anyone able to listen. Continue to shepherd us and continue to do that good work within us so that we may grow more in righteousness, wisdom, and love. In Jesus’ name I pray,
¹ Crossway Bibles. (2001). The Holy Bible English Standard Version. Wheaton: Good News Publishers.